Case of a couple receiving harassing messages on their TV?

I’ve tried googling but I can’t come up with anything. Years ago I saw on TV (it might have been Unsolved Mysteries, but I doubt it) a case where a couple started recieving harassing messages throught their TV. I remember the messages were text, the messages included their names and also that the messages appeared like they were coming from someone who could see the couple in their house. The cable company couldn’t find any tampering. I can’t remember if the messages were overtly threatening or just harassing.

Does anyone know what I am talking about? It was years ago so I was wondering if they found out who was behind it. Very creepy.

I never heard of that in any serious way.
I’ve read (sorry, don’t have a cite) of schizophrenic or otherwise psychotic people claiming this from time to time. Could you have some such story in mind?

Never heard of it, and my google-fu failed:( However it does sound like a killer idea for a horror movie.

There was a similar X Files episode where people exposed to a particular drug were susceptible to messages through electronic displays to KILL KILL KILL

The messages must have been transmitted on the Kenneth Frequency.

It is commonplace for those with paranoid delusions to believe that they are getting messages in, um, nonstandard ways, whether through electronic devices, other people, animals or just disembodied voices.

Since we have many more electronic devices in use these days, along with heightened transmissions from things like cellphone towers, I wonder if the incidence of complaints from the paranoid population has substantially increased - (based on the presence of websites like this, one would think so).

There have been several cases of “hijacking” of TV signals, but none of these seem to match your recollection.

My googling only turned up schizophrenic claims of radio and tv messages like you guys are thinking. The difference in this case from my memory is that this was for sure a COUPLE who both saw the messages (though I know sometimes two people can suffer delusions together, or one partner leads a suggestible partner into them), and from my memory the story was corroborated either by police who saw the messages, the cable company trying to figure out if an employee with a grudge was tampering with them, or both.

They thought their house was bugged because the messages said things about stuff going on in tge living room at the time. I remember SEEING these messages on the news report about it too but they might have been recreations. The text looked tge same as close-captioning. I’m pretty sure now that it was a filler piece on a Chicago area news program sometime in 1999-2001 timeframe, i’d really like to read more about it…

Delusions of reference are one of the hallmarks of a psychotic break.

I would bet good money that this is the story you’re thinking of, but further details seem to be behind a paywall.

YES that is definitely it. When making my OP I was worried about mentioning the racial threats because I wasn’t 100% confident in my memory and I didn’t want to poison the search for this case with bad information. I also didn’t mention that they were black because I couldn’t remember if they were a black couple or if they were an interracial couple and the messages were racially charged towards that.

Did you remember this case too, or are you just a better googler than me? I will try to find some more info, knowing the date and that it was Detroit helps a lot! Thanks, such an interesting case.


I’m now back where I started where originally I heard the story, will be very difficult to follow up on.

I just got off of the phone with Charlotte Smith, she is a very nice sounding woman and apparently they never found out who was behind it. :frowning:

A neighbor broke into their house and got their remote. :slight_smile:

The Dish Network remotes use RF, so it wouldn’t be hard for someone with the same model remote to control a neighbor’s television.

I’ve bought extras on Ebay, but this happened a while ago, and the house had been broken into.

Wow, you really called her? That is awesome. I was certain this would turn out to be a hoax but it looks like the cops and FBI confirmed the messages. Did you ask her how long this lasted? When did it stop? Did the FBI getting involved coincide with the messages stopping? I can’t believe they never found out who did this… It’s almost as creepy as the infamous Max Headroom hijack case.

I’m wondering how they just typed onscreen with a remote control. Like, what part of the GUI on a TV lets you just type over the screen? I’ve never seen that ability on a TV, which makes me wonder if the criminal had special cable company equipment, like a technician remote? Could’ve worked for the cable company or stolen.

Anyone have experience with a TV that would just allow them to type in real time on the screen like that? Also you would have to be pretty close or modify your remote, RF signals get weaker squared with distance if I remember correctly.

Yes I really called her. As I said I ended the conversation earlier than I would have liked because Charlotte sounded upset thinking about it (and with how creepy it was, and the person never being found I absolutely don’t blame her!) Your questions are exactly what I wanted to ask, but I didn’t want to cause her more distress.

I really wanted to ask if they ever had any suspects, and what the other messages were because there were said to be at least 10, but only 2 of them were released publically from what I can see. I’d really love to see any of the video of the newsreport if any of you sleuths can figure out how to find it.

The Max Headroom case I’ve been fascinated with for years and I think one journo thinks he knows who did it (some college kids with their college TV station’s equipment they could check out and a van), but I will have to find you the link some other time. :slight_smile:

Sorry to double-post but I missed the editing window.

here’s a bit more info on the case. Apparently someone messed with their alarm system while they were on vacation, which may explain how the harassers got control of their set.

Verrry creepy.

Edited to add: ooh turns out it wsn’t a double post since you crept in there after me. Thanks for the extra info, rogerbox. I don’t blame you for not wanting to press her for details. But I’d very much like to hear how you broached the subject in the first place! I’m so impresed.

The Max Headroom thing really bugs me too, because I just hate unexplained mysteries that totally shouldn’t be unexplained because by now someone, somewhere, should’ve been bragging about that!